Closing churches again should be avoided at all costs

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The writer is a UK politician and former leader of the Liberal Democrats

Last Sunday, I physically went back to church for the first time in more than six months. We tentatively opened our doors and it was fantastic to see people again. 

Back near the start of lockdown, Zoom and YouTube streaming were a bit more exciting, and it was a novelty to attend virtual church in your pyjamas. I missed meeting my church family in person — and the marvellous new coffee machine in our renovated church kitchen. But I took the view that church buildings themselves are not sacred (ours is a modern building that would not win any awards for architecture) and as long as the church body kept meeting in some form that would be enough. There were reports of hordes of people joining online services all over the world, many of whom had not set foot in a physical church for years.